Combining an Interprofessional Street Medicine Outreach Program With Community Partners to Provide COVID-19 Immunizations to Persons Experiencing Homelessness.
The ETSU HealthBridge is a community of interprofessional faculty and students who affirm the inherent worth of unhoused people experiencing homelessness by meeting them where they are, and by providing care with compassion, trust, and excellence whose vision is to bridge barriers so that health care reaches everyone in our community, especially those who are unsheltered. This group was intentionally formed as an interprofessional collective recognizing the twin needs for a team-based approach to caring for this population and for strong community partnerships, leveraging their longstanding, preexisting relationships with persons experiencing homelessness.
An internal study of ETSU health professions students showed that 96% agreed or strongly agreed that homeless people have a right to basic healthcare and 97% agreed or strongly agreed that health professionals have a duty to care for the homeless. We describe an outreach of this IP community to provide Covid-19 immunizations to people experiencing homelessness.
A two-pronged approach was designed to accomplish the goal of providing Covid-19 immunizations to this population: 1) develop and require appropriate training for students and faculty in the unique skills required to care for people experiencing homelessness AND 2) develop and deepen relationships with community partners in our area who had preexisting relationships with this population. To accomplish the first task, an online curriculum with seven modules was created and required of all student and faculty prior to any outreach engagement. To accomplish the second task, a working group with partners in the clinical, service, behavioral, and faith communities was crafted. This working group provided insight into needs and obstacles to care for this population. A grant through the Tennessee Department of Health provided Covid-19 vaccine available to ETSU HealthBridge.
Vaccinations were provided to people experiencing homelessness in partnership with a local church during a breakfast outreach.
Cross, Leonard B.; Miller, William S.; Coston, Taylor A.; Millard, Jared T.; Taylor, David; Amadio, Patricia B.; Hemphill, Jean C.; PettyJohn, Samuel C.; Clem, Jamie; and Flores, Emily K., "Combining an Interprofessional Street Medicine Outreach Program With Community Partners to Provide COVID-19 Immunizations to Persons Experiencing Homelessness." (2021). ETSU Faculty Works. 867.